Asbestos is a mineral naturally found in the environment and that has long been used in a number of industries. Since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that asbestos was a hazard, it has been heavily regulated. That being said, it is still used regularly in the United States and could be in your workplace, too. There are several kinds of workers at high risk of asbestos exposure, including:
- Chemical and industrial plant workers
- Construction professionals
Asbestos exposure may result in the fibers getting into the lungs, esophagus, stomach or other areas of the body where they can cause damage and scarring. Over time, this damage could lead to a cancer called mesothelioma, which has the potential to be terminal.
Why are firefighters at risk?
Firefighters come into contact with older buildings as well as toxic fumes and fibers. Ashes and soot can contain asbestos, in some cases, which is why firefighters are around 2.29 times more likely to suffer from mesothelioma than those in the general public.
What happens at chemical and industrial plants to put workers at risk?
Because of the long latency period, your exposure may have occurred before much of the asbestos containing materials were removed from these plants. In addition, even today there are still some materials that contain asbestos used in those places. The manufacturing of items containing asbestos is still allowed in some industries, and older machinery may contain it as well, particularly in insolation. If you work in an industrial plant, you should be informed if asbestos could be present.
How are construction workers exposed to asbestos?
Construction workers are exposed to asbestos when working with materials that contain it. Shingles, spackle, tiles, drywall and other materials can contain asbestos. When they’re cut, torn, broken or catch on fire, there is a risk that those fibers could enter the air and be breathed in.
Those who are or have worked in these industries should be aware of the risk of developing mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. If you develop this condition, you should make a claim for compensation to support you and your family and to provide you with a means of treating the disease.